Sorry You’re Not A Winner

We all like to do good, for the most part. It’s like this messed up evolutionary thing where we like to feel like we do ok at something at least. Or perhaps at the minimum not suck hardcore. We also like to feel like there’s something out there that’s for us, a thing that’s our thing, that we’re known to be good at, and then we try to turn that thing into our career.

Some of us are good communicators.

Some of us are good athletes.

Some of us are good creatively.

Some of us are good at figuring out things.

Some of us are good at nurturing.

Some of us are good at drinking wine.

I like to think I fall into the last category.

Finding what it is that you’re good at can be hard though. Or trying to become good at something and putting yourself at the mercy of other’s judgement can be even tougher. I’m currently trying my hand at a course to learn more about something and to possibly have another avenue for my career, but it’s opening me up to some criticism and comparison to others. I’d totally forgotten what that felt like.

FYI: It feels like shit.

Right about now, there’s a bunch of Year 12 students either eagerly awaiting results or just received results. Some will be feeling pretty pumped. Others will be left feeling distraught. It’s one of the main points in our life where we’re pitted against others, compared and ranked so blatantly, and that can be confronting for many.

Image source

I received feedback from this course and it left me feeling horrid. I immediately decided that I was shit at the course, what the hell was I thinking and I felt embarrassed for trying. And I’m a grown lady who is supposedly mature (I use that term very loosely). So to be a young 17 or 18 year old and receiving such huge results can be a lot to take on, and for some it might be too much.

It’s all well and good for us to support them by saying ‘you did the best you could’ or ‘it’ll be ok’, but let’s be real here- nobody likes to hear those words, especially not a teen. Such words will probably be met with a vacant stare, glazed eyes, a huff and a heel turn. Think five year old on steroids.

So what can we do for our kids when they’re given news/feedback/results that could impact them negatively? (And this isn’t just for our big kids, this is for little ones too!)

We listen.


It’s that simple.

We listen to them, when they’re ready. We listen to the anger, the sadness, the confusion, the fears, the despair. Let them get it all out.

When they’re ready, we can try and help problem solve. But they need to be the problem solvers, we’re just the sounding board. We can’t be the ones telling them what to do anymore.

We might know just what needs to happen, but we can’t just spit that out at them. We can offer suggestions or ideas, but they have to be the ones to take them up.

One of the biggest things we can do is let them know that it’s not the end of things for them. Because it’s truly not. For every door that closes, there’s three more that open up. Those open doors might just be down a longer corridor though, or there might be another corner to turn to get to that door. But it’s open.

Yeah…so….ahhh….this door is closed. But it looks pretty and can totally be open, I’m sure. Image source

Problem is when we can’t see those doors open right in front of us, it can feel like we’re stuck in the dark, with nowhere to go. We need to be able to let them know that it might be dark right now, but there are open doors waiting. And the next door they walk through could be even better than they anticipated.

Actually, that advice is pretty good for us all really, isn’t it?

We also need to help them reflect on all the things that HAVE been achieved/done well/completed to date, and get a grasp of the bigger picture. Doors have been opened, sometimes doors have been kicked down. And more doors will be opened again in the future too.

While everyone can’t always be the winner, and sometimes things don’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean the end, or it wasn’t enough. Because the effort was there. And when there’s effort, there’s always an open door.

They did well. We did well. We’re all doing ok.

From the Left Field, Not a winner post


How do you cope when you get an outcome that isn’t what you hoped for? Do you remember getting your Year 12 results? Did you freak out about it?


  • I have three daughters. Year 11, year 10 and year 8. The eldest practically failed this year, hardly applied herself at all and isn’t bothered by the poor results. So unlike myself and her two sisters. I don’t know what to do. I’m beside myself with worry but she has had a tough year health wise, so I’m trying to give her some grace but still.

    • Oh that sounds so stressful for you. :( It’s hard when you can see from the outside what she needs to do, and what she can do, but she isn’t. Has she applied for special consideration due to her health issues? Sometimes they’ll give some extra leeway if it’s been a rough year. Also, if she can pull it out for next year, she should be a-ok. I worked in secondary schools for many years and honestly although both years are cumulative, many kids bombed Yr 11, picked up in Yr 12 and did fine. And even if she doesn’t? There are so many different pathways that can all lead to the same thing. xx

  • My year 12 marks sucked. But I didn’t care because I just wanted school over!

    • Ha ha oh far out I hated school, I’m so with you! I was also a pedantic perfectionist though and bullied my maths teacher into giving me a higher grade! Your results certainly haven’t stopped you, you’re one of the most eloquent writers I’ve read! x

  • My Year 12 results were pretty good and I got into journalism, which was what I wanted. It’s life since then that’s thrown up some losses and plenty of ‘not good enoughs’. I always try to tell the kids that success is measured in effort (but it can make it hard when a certain someone doesn’t put in much effort).

    • The ups and downs of life can leave us feeling a bit meh can’t they? But effort is the key… trying to get kids to see that at times is like asking a cat to tap dance! x

  • I hated school, couldn’t wait to get out and didn’t give two shits about my results. I got a ‘proper job’ straight away then went to uni a few years later as a mature aged student, so my marks were irrelevant anyway. Lots of my friends were destroyed by that final year at high school though, it’s a ridiculous amount of pressure to put on young people!

    • And look at you go, lady!! Ain’t no stopping you! It’s so funny how we hinge so much on these school results, but they quickly become redundant. I wish I didn’t give a shit at the time, but I was so hung up on it. Mind you I also wagged maths every week so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was expecting to achieve ha ha. The pressure is getting worse I think, I feel for our cherubs as they grow up! x

  • The comparison and criticism never gets any easier. A few years ago I did a course as another avenue to my profession too, and after my first feedback (which wasn’t crash hot) I went home, threw a tanty and decided to quit… Until hubster reminded me of the couple of grand I’d splashed out on the course. So I put my money where my course books where and decided it was character building. Finished the course and it was the best thing I ever did. For every door that closes, there is always one that opens, even if you have to try opening a lot of doors before you find the right one :)

    • You’re so right sweets, as always! x It doesn’t get any easier. I thought my skin was thicker now, but being put at the mercy of someone assessing you and telling you what they think… well that’s tough! I’m so glad you saw your course through, and you are an amazeballs chick, you keep going from strength to strength. xx

  • I didn’t freak out about year 12 because even then I knew there are many ways to do what I want to in life. I have worked in areas where feedback is constant so I’m good with it most of the time.

  • This was me at the beginning of the year when I started my Diploma, it was really nerve-wracking getting feedback on my work and finding out where I was really at from the professionals who’ve been doing it for years, but at the same time the feedback was invaluable and has made me a far better photographer than I ever would have been without it. Re: year 12, getting my results was ok, I was surprised to do as well as I did considering I lost all motivation halfway through the year and half-assed a lot of assessments. So to get a half-way decent result was good, but at the same time disappointing when I realised what I could have gotten if I’d tried a little harder. It taught me a valuable lesson though, and one I think stood me in good stead when I finally went back to studying this year after 15 years away from it.

    • Oh gosh I can totally understand how you’d feel at the start of your Diploma. I love photography and would love to pursue it more… but I’m so unsure and chicken and no doubt the feedback would be tough for me to take ha ha! But look at you now- you’ve gotten through it and moved forward- so awesome! Good luck for your new adventure! x

  • I don’t like getting bad results or negative feedback but I find it helps me to strive harder. This is such a good post for year 12 students waiting for their results. Sometimes that result is all they can think about and it will make or break a future career… But they need to be told there are other doors open and really they have the world at their feet with all the time to make changes.

    • I’m exactly the same Bec. I berate myself so hard when I get negative feedback or bad results. Total perfectionist! But, it’s really the way we choose to look at it, isn’t it? It’s easy to turn it around and make it something for us to work on. I feel for our kids as they grow- the pressure on them to achieve and to get top results in year 12 is so tough. But there is always a door ready to be opened somewhere out there. x

  • I sulk, have a bit of a cry, whinge to the hubster, then maybe a nap or a good night’s sleep, dust myself off and get on with life again …

  • I take constructive criticism pretty well these days but a few years back found it quite crushing… particularly in my 20s. Maybe I just care less as im getting older?!

  • Ahh yes I do remember when I received my year 12 results. It was not a good time for me at all. A case of me and my parents putting too much pressure on myself. It’s such a difficult time for young kids. Hindsight, hey :)

  • Oh it has been so long since I have read your inspiring words (why, I am not sure, sleeping?) and this post is the bomb. Off to share because I am sure it will help a lot of people right now.

  • I think sometimes we just need time to get over the disappointment, for some it will be minutes others it will be years. But as you say one door closes and another opens(or actually is already ajar)!

  • Getting a bad result is one of my least favourite things. I suppose it’s like that for just about everyone. But having someone listen does help. It’s the best thing, really.